August seems to have passed in a flash, and we are already into September! It has felt like a very quick month with not much of note to report. The yachting season is drawing to an end, although the good weather in the first week of September has given the Marina a wee boost. Both the Blue Clipper and the Eda Frandsen will have finished their season in Mallaig by the time you read this, which is always a sign for us in the Harbour that summer is over!
The Harbour was the setting for the Maritime day on Sunday 13th August, to raise funds for the Mallaig RNLI and RNMDSF (Fishermen’s Mission). Although the weather wasn’t great on the day, it was dry for a few hours, and it seemed to be just enough to encourage everyone to come and spend their money. It was nice to see the Gala Day back on the Harbour, albeit in a smaller format than previous years. The Mallaig, Ardnamurchan and District (MaaD) Pipe Band opened proceedings, and then played to welcome the Steam Train into Mallaig, so that encouraged some of the visitors to the area onto the Harbour to spend their money! The pipe band are back to regular Monday evening practices now that the schools are back in, and while the weather is good, they are hoping to do these on the bandstand, so listen out for them!
We are always a bit behind by the time we collate all fishing landing information, but the visiting fishing vessels continued into July, and as for last year, the value of landings for the month of July was over £1million, which is positive news for both the Harbour and the fleet!
The work at Eigg to remove rock from the approach to the ferry berth took much longer than first anticipated, so the Wyre Estuary was berthing overnight in the Harbour for the whole month of August, rather than the fortnight that they had planned for. This should hopefully mean the end of tidal sailings for the Loch Nevis – but she is away for her annual overhaul at the moment, so the Loch Bhrusda and the Larven are covering. We lost both the Coruisk and the Loch Bhrusda for a few days at the end of August – the Coruisk to Oban for the Mull run and the Loch Bhrusda to Berneray for the Sound of Harris run. Both have now returned to Mallaig.
August is also the month when parking invoices / permits are issued. Because we have been a bit short staffed, we haven’t managed to issue these yet, but we will be sending out terms and conditions along with the permits this year. We know that parking is a nightmare in the village, but it’s equally a nightmare for us when people park randomly on the Harbour. During the winter months, when it’s quieter, we try to be more lenient with this, but there seems to have been a steady stream of parking issues over the last few weeks. Please don’t park in a space unless you have either a permit to be in that space, or express permission from the permit holder. We have three visitor spaces behind the prawn market, which are intended for visitors to the Harbour Office, or contractors we have working for us. We don’t mind if these are empty and someone uses them to nip to the shop – especially outwith office hours, but many of the issues that have arisen lately are because these are being used as unofficial parking spaces. We’ve also noticed people using Scottish Seafarms spaces (alongside their office and in the area adjacent to our workshop). Scottish Seafarms staff are now back working in Mallaig, and need these spaces again so if you have been sneakily using one of these, then please don’t! It’s always a challenge in the summer months, and easier in the winter, so many of these issues will be resolved in the next few weeks when things quieten down, but I thought it was worth just reminding everyone. We’d love to be able to accommodate all those who ask for spaces, but it’s just not possible, and at the moment we have a waiting list of over 30 people for the spaces we do have.
We’re still working away in the background on developments for the Outer Harbour, including the new overnight ferry berth, and ways of achieving some of the other projects we had hoped to do if our funding application had been successful. We’re hoping to undertake an economic impact assessment over the next couple of months, which will enable us to make our case more strongly with funders. This will require the successful consultant to consult with some of our key stakeholders, including the communities served by the harbour. We hope to have this done over the winter months, when people have a bit more time to contribute.
Finally this month, we have an advert placed in West Word and in our vacancy page on this web-site for a Deputy Harbour Master. We are hoping to recruit someone who will be able to work alongside our existing Harbour Master, Pimmy, with a view to becoming Harbour Master at some point in the future. We realise that Pimmy’s shoes are going to be big shoes to fill when the time does eventually come, but there’s a lot of knowledge to be shared, so we thought we should start the search for a successor!